Pitcher or everyday player? College or high school?

The three-day major league draft begins at 7 p.m. Monday with the first two rounds. The Boston Red Sox have the 26th and 64th overall picks in those opening rounds.

This is considered a strong draft field, but it’s hard to gauge where the Red Sox are leaning. College players are likely to go first – well before Boston picks – and then the field evens out by position and schooling.

“It’s a pretty balanced group when you measure the depth in each demographic,” said Mike Rikard, head of the Red Sox amateur scouting. “There’s not one particular group we feel is much stronger than another.”

This draft is important considering the Red Sox farm system has few top prospects. Trades and promotions to the majors have thinned out the elite players. Plus Boston’s top two minor league prospects are both shelved – pitcher Jay Groome (Tommy John surgery) and infielder Michael Chavis (suspended for PED use).

Rikard said he isn’t looking at that.

“Our philosophy is to stay out of that mindset,” he said. “Certainly there are things to be considered (like the) state of farm system. But we line up the draft board based on talent.”

Boston has no chance for the top talent – college pitchers Casey Mize (Auburn) and Brady Singer (Florida), college catcher Joey Bart (Georgia Tech), college infielders Alec Bohm (Wichita State) and Nick Madrigal (Oregon State), high school pitchers Ryan Weathers and Matthew Liberatore, high school infielder Nolan Gorman and high school outfielder Jarred Kelenic.

As the best players are taken, Rikard and the team president, Dave Dombrowski, will wait to see who falls to them.

“You want to consider what are the strengths as the draft progresses,” Rikard said. “In a real heavy demographic, the bottom end of that group could get to a later pick.”

A later pick, as in the 26th selection.

Here are seven players that could fall to Boston:

n Outfielder Steele Walker, Oklahoma. Not only is Walker a power hitter in college, he also performed well over the summer with wooden bats. Watching a player without an aluminum bat is an “integral part of our (scouting) process,” Rikard said. “Some guys don’t handle the wood bat as well as others.”

n Left-handed pitcher Ryan Rolison, Mississippi. Depending on which scouting report you read, Rolison will be the fourth, fifth or sixth college pitcher taken. He struck out 13 in seven innings in the Rebels’ opening NCAA tournament game.

n Catcher Anthony Siegler, Cartersville High (Georgia). Solid receiver and hitter. Considered a target of the Rockies and Yankees, who draft ahead of Boston.

n Shortstop Brice Turang, Santiago High (California). Some high school players are considered projects. Turang is polished, which leads to an interesting concern – has his game already peaked?

n Right-handed high school pitcher TBA – Carter Stewart, Cole Wilcox or Kumar Rocker. Dombrowski likes arms and these three are power pitchers with a solid health history. There may be other high school pitchers available but with injury red flags.

Other names that have been predicted for the Red Sox are Missouri State shortstop Jeremy Eierman, Clemson first baseman Seth Beer, high school first baseman Tristan Casas and high school catcher Noah Naylor.

A darkhorse is outfielder Griffin Conine of Duke. The son of former major leaguer Jeff Conine, he is a slugger who hit nine home runs in the Cape Cod League.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: @ClearTheBases

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